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Keeping Up With the Ironing

My third New Year’s resolution this year was to keep on top of my ironing – rather than letting it pile and pile into monstrous proportions for months on end. I am happy to report that my habits have improved (cough, cough) to the point where they pile up for only weeks on end. The garments in this picture taken in January, for example, have long since been pressed and put away.

At least we can be thankful irons have evolved from this cast-iron monstrosity from 1850! I once lifted an antique iron and it was incredibly heavy – you really would have got a workout using one of those!Ironing is such a boring chore. I know many people who find it so boring they don’t even bother with it at all. But I hate to wear wrinkled clothing, especially to work. It looks so slovenly. (Sorry, but it does.) Click here for an object lesson. Others (fashion editors) swear by the efficacy of hanging unironed clothing in the bathroom while they shower, saying that the wrinkles magically drop out with the steam. Pfffft! That is an outright fantasy. I’ve tried it, and it does not work at all.

A work colleague swears by her steam iron, a magical laundry gadget judging by her description. Sadly, I do not have room in my tiny studio apartment to store such a piece of machinery, although I suppose I could consider a portable version. 

Making ironing look beautiful: A Laundry Maid Ironing, Henry Morland 1716–1797This Victorian woman uses an iron similar to the cast iron version pictured aboveObviously a good iron is preferable, but one thing that really makes a huge difference in completing this tedious business is a high-quality ironing board that doesn’t wobble and threaten to collapse with every movement, and which has a good cover on it with plenty of padding. Little padding beneath the cover means quite often you can iron the grill pattern of the board into your clothes.

one thing that really makes a huge difference … is a high-quality ironing board

Once I determine to tackle one of these big mothers (as above) though, I set to with a will. Often I will put on a DVD for entertainment relief, although it’s better I choose something I have watched before, so that I am not pulled into the story and distracted from the main task at hand. This was how one year I got through all the documentaries and commentaries on The Lord of the Rings. I’m vaguely interested in the commentaries, but I certainly don’t want to sit down and watch them exclusively. Another time I found myself rediscovering that old classic, Dirty Dancing very late at night. I hadn’t watched that film since I was a teenager!

Sometimes I will simply listen to quiet music while I iron, and find that combined with the hush and hiss of the iron put me into a soothing, meditative state where my mind wanders down pathways I seldom visit during busy days. It’s a great way to do some creative thinking.

Even Ava Gardner did the ironing (in heels of course)!I have this childhood memory of my mother doing the ironing in the lounge room in the evenings: she would turn on the radio to the old 3AK radio station, an easy-listening music station, and work at one end of the L-shaped room under the lights, while I would lounge on a couch at the other end of the room in the dimness, daydreaming in a somnolent state prior to going to bed. There is something very comforting about that memory. That’s probably why to this day I prefer to do my ironing late at night, with the lights turned down low.

Speaking of which, I just happen to have one of these monsters breeding on an armchair: something I should tackle this weekend. I will wear slippers however.

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